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The official blog of Orunje, Healthcare on Demand

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July 15, 2015

Get the wheels turning

for a healthy summer

Pardeep Athwal MD, MBA

July 15, 2015

A Puff of Truth about

Smoking

Rushim Bains MD

July 15, 2015

Daily preventative

medicine

Rajbeer Singh Sangha MD

June 01, 2015

Cup O'Joy ...

I mean Joe

Pardeep Athwal MD, MBA

June 01, 2015

The Stomach Flu

 

Rushim Bains MD

June 01, 2015

A Simple Cure

 

Rajbeer Singh Sangha MD

Get the wheels turning for a healthy summer...

by Pardeep Athwal MD, MBA

Exercising can at times feel like a daunting chore. In the midst of work, soccer practice, dinner and weekend obligations, how does one find time to keep physically fit? This was the question I asked myself a few months ago and soon after, I stumbled into a local area bike shop. After a few test rides and questions by the knowledgeable staff, I was the proud owner of a shiny new hybrid. Unbeknown to me at the time, this purchase would change my summer in more ways than I could imagine, all without sacrificing a significant amount of time. Here are a few of the positives of partaking in what I like to call "enjoyable exercise".

Rediscover your city...

I used to drive everywhere, even places that were a few miles away. Once I received my bike, I decided to cycle to these places and quickly learned that the city I live in began coming alive. Buildings, parks and gardens were now significantly more noticeable to me. Instead of driving past them quickly in my car, I was now marveling at the intricate designs on these centuries' old buildings, the beautiful blossoms of flowers and people strolling down the sidewalks. Whether your walking, running or biking, you will be able to get outdoors, bathe your skin with a healthy dose of vitamin D and cause increased release of "feel good" neurotransmitters. This has an immensely positive impact on your overall well-being and mood. So hop on a bike or your feet to take advantage of a variety of health benefits while seeing your city in an entirely new way!

Doing things you normally do anyways with the added benefit of burning calories and boosting energy...

My commute to work is a 10-minute drive, mostly because I hit several traffic lights on the way. I decided one day to bike to work, something I had never done before. I added 5 minutes to my commute, which was now 15 minutes; however, it was far more enjoyable and less stressful than driving. Also, my round-trip commute allotted me 30 minutes of exercise, without interfering with my normal schedule. A mild to moderate paced bike ride burns 281 calories per hour and a light jog/brisk walk burns the same amount of calories in about 45 minutes. In addition to burning calories, moderate exercise increases energy levels, which studies show equate to increased productivity at work, particularly in the mornings. How does this happen...? Physical activity increases oxygen and nutrient delivery to your tissues and helps your body pump blood more efficiently, which bathes your tissues with much needed energy packed nutrients and molecules. This has a direct positive impact on energy levels. So if your work commute is short, instead of driving to work hop on a bike or put on your sneakers and take a brisk walk, which will give you jolt of energy while burning calories and making your morning commute far more enjoyable.

Relieve stress, get fit and ward of chronic illnesses...

Decades of research has time and time again demonstrated the benefits of exercise. From weight control to decreased incidence of chronic health conditions, moderate daily exercise goes a long way in helping you live a long and healthy life. In particular, regular exercise boosts high-density lipoprotein (HDL), which is what we doctors refer to as "good" cholesterol. This significantly decreases your risk of cardiovascular disease and helps to reduce stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer. Now let me ask you a question, do you ever get into work in the morning and notice your mood isn't the best? Well, let me be the first to tell you that exercise stimulates neurotransmitter release, as mentioned above, which helps you to feel happier and more relaxed. Your morning slump may become a thing of the past and furthermore your confidence and self-esteem will improve as you feel better about your physical appearance. Lastly, all of this can be done while increasing time you spend with your nature or your family. So whether you're walking, jogging or riding your bike with a family of 6, get up, get out and advantage of time in the outdoors.

To sum it all up...

I hope sharing my personal experience with you helped to shed light on how a small purchase significantly impacted my overall well-being and mood. We all feel at times that there are not enough hours in the day to accomplish the important tasks we have set out to do, let alone spend an hour in the gym cycling in place or running on a treadmill. Incorporating exercise into your daily schedule will allow you to get the much-needed physical activity without cutting into your busy life. And as research shows, moderate exercise (30 minutes or more) can significantly impact your energy levels, mood and overall health in countless ways. Lastly, here are some of our favorite walking/jogging and biking trails around Chicago. So stop looking for excuses, get up, get out and get going and make the world your playground.

REFERENCES

The benefits of physical activity. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/everyone/health/index.html. Accessed July 2, 2013.

Armstrong S, et al. Social connectedness, self-esteem, and depression symptomatology among collegiate athletes versus nonathletes. Journal of American College Health. 2009;57:521.

Rosenkilde, M. American Journal of Physiology, Aug. 1, 2012. News release, University of Copenhagen.